Trauma made waves in what was known as the Bay Area Scene back in 1982, partly because Metallica man Cliff Burton was one of its members in their early days. Those waves crested in ’84 with their album Scratch And Scream which was fairly successful, but after that they seemed to disappear until 2015 when they released Rapture And Wrath to coincide with the reissue of the Scratch… album.
Now, with a new line-up of bass player Greg Christian (Testament), guitarist Steve Robello (Dublin Death Patrol), original vocalist Donny Hillier, Joe Fraulob (Danzig) on guitars and long-time drummer Kris Gustofson they are releasing As The World Dies; A heavy metal album certainly, but with a bit of a thrash injection behind the melodic approach. The other influences must be Maiden, Priest and Dio with some NWOBHM rawness behind it all. Does it work? Well, opening track, ‘The Rage’ lulls with a twin guitar intro before a riff of Dio proportions suddenly speeds up and it sounds like Priest’s Painkiller album was on the stereo while they were writing it. ‘From Here To Hell’ is from the same metal template with a frantic start and then it gets even faster as the Halford/Dickenson comparisons inevitably rear their heads… that doesn’t detract however as Hillier carries it all off with aplomb. Title track, ‘As The World Dies’, has a slow build and the initial riff chugs along over subtle vocals before Hillier again lets rip. This is the best one for me because of its tempo changes which draws you in and keep you guessing, and it includes some really tasty guitars throughout. ‘Last Rites’ slows things down a bit and again the Bruce Maiden feeling is there, along with a hint of Geoff Tate but it is most certainly Hillier and this is a close second as a favourite with it’s heavy ballad structure. Closer ‘Savage’ keeps the riffs coming and rounds the album off nicely with similarities to a track of the same name on Stained Class (Judas Priest).
This is a pure metal album and if you like the influences that abound on here then you will love this album… especially as the influences are handled so well by all involved but there is no doubt that it is Trauma and not just a clone that you are listening to. So you get a really enjoyable journey through classic 80’s metal with a modern edge.
Out 15th February 2019 via Pure Steel Records.